'Sailing stars of tomorrow' eye gold on domestic waters
SAILING:A FIVE-IRISH boat team that is a mix of youth and experience will take on the world’s most outstanding youth talent and are tasked with bringing home a medal on home waters. It’s a big ask given Ireland’s only past medal performance in the competition’s modern format was way back in 1996 when Laura Dillon and Ciara Peelo won bronze.
Dún Laoghaire sailors fill four of the five slots on the Irish squad for the championship.
The team was selected after an intensive four-day battle at the Irish Mitsubishi Youth National Championships on Dublin Bay last April.
It will be Sophie Murphy’s third time to represent Ireland at the ISAF Youth World Championships (a first for any Irish female sailor). Having also sailed at four World Championships and five European Championships and one Youth Olympic Games – the team’s only girl has the most experienced of the eight sailors.
Last year the Royal St George and Quoile YC sailor, who races in the Laser Radial, finished 11th overall at the Croatian event, the best result for Ireland in the female single-handed dinghy since 1971 when the ISAF Youth World Championships started.
Sixteen-year-old Finn Lynch makes his worlds’ debut after domination of the domestic Topper scene, winning national titles from 2008 to 2010. He also won the British Topper title in 2010 before moving to the Laser Radial.
Royal Cork pairing Patrick Crosbie and Grattan Roberts compete in the 420 dinghy and bring experience from a wide range of sailing, including competition in Optimists, RS Feva, Laser 4.7s, Toppers, National 18s and keelboats.
In spite of only stepping into the 29er skiff at Christmas former Optimist dinghy sailors Seán and Tadgh Donnelly from the National YC are aiming for a medal race spot at the end of this week.
Likewise, Alexander Rumball and Rory McStay take their place on the start line only after a winter of hard work on the water, moving from monohull dinghies to the Spitfire and ultimately SL16 catamaran, to become Ireland’s first Catamaran crew at this event.
Whatever the outcome for Ireland there is no doubt the event forges future sailing careers. Many of this week’s competitors will progress to Olympic level.
ISAF is quick to point out that these are the “sailing stars of tomorrow”.
“Many of the competitors at this month’s Olympic regatta started their careers at this event, including Britian’s sailing superstar Ben Ainslie,” says ISAF’s Fiona Kidd.
Ainslie is not alone. Others include Laser Radial sailor Paige Railey from the USA, who will compete against Dún Laoghaire’s Annalise Murphy in Weymouth and has also won gold at youth level. Significantly, Murphy is a past youth worlds’ competitor, as are Irish Olympic Star keelboat pairing Peter O’Leary and David Burrows.
IRELAND 2012 YOUTH TEAM
Finn Lynch National YC
Sophie Murphy Royal St George YC /Quoile YC
Patrick Crosbie and Grattan Roberts Royal Cork YC
Seán and Tadhg Donnelly National YC
SL16 Catamaran Class
Alexander Rumball and Rory McStayRoyal Irish YC/Royal St George YC/Irish National SC